Some years after the end of the Second World War
, two military-political alliances were founded. In the West, the USA, Canada and ten European countries joined to form NATO in 1949. In the East, the "Warsaw Pact" was founded under the auspices of the Soviet Union; at the beginning, its members were the then communist states of Albania, Bulgaria, the GDR
, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union intended this "Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance" (as the pact was officially called) to act as a counterweight to NATO and to bolster Soviet power in Central and Eastern Europe
. During the serious crises of the Cold War
, NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries were often involved in hostile stand-offs with one another. There were threats of war and both sides accumulated more and more arms. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved in 1991 after the Cold War came to an end.
Gerd Schneider / Christiane Toyka-Seid